We Can Simply Throw a Sign in the Yard

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs TX Broker 0513551

iStock_000004531492SmallI recently overheard a couple talking about selling their home. As I listened, they were telling each other that in this strong seller's market all they need to do was to throw a sign in the yard and they would sell for top dollar.

I would agree that the greater Dallas area is in a strong seller's market. I base that on the lack of inventory and the number of offers received on each of our listings. That said, if you want top dollar, you still have to properly prepare, market, and show it. Buyers are not going to pay top dollar for a home that does not show well.

It all starts with preparing the home for sale. While we have listed and sold a few homes that did not need any preparation, the vast majority can maximize their sales price and minimize their marketing time by employing a stager. We so strongly believe in this concept that we pay for a staging consultation on almost every listing. The photos below are an example of the difference staging can make (staging done by Karen Otto with HomeStarStaging).


Once the staging is complete, the cleaning stage begins. We recommend that carpets and the home be professionally cleaned. In our market the cost is about $500. Why? A super-clean home looks and smells good creating an emotional appeal to buyers. Emotion leads to quicker and higher offers.

The next stage is getting ready to market the home. Professional quality photography is a must. With over 90 percent of Dallas buyers starting their searches on the Internet, you have to create a compelling reason for buyers to want to see the home. Even in a seller’s market, quality photography instills a sense of urgency in buyers. They realize that the home will not last long and they need to get in to see it quickly.


The last stage is having the home in show-ready condition for every showing. Most sellers know in advance that their home will be showing. When you get that call, it’s almost show time! Have a plan of action to get your home in show-ready shape: window shades open, lights on, soft music playing, etc. It’s all about creating an emotional experience for the buyers.

Don’t let a strong seller’s market lull you into thinking that you can simply stick a sign in the ground and sell your home for top dollar in the minimum amount of time. Take the time and make the effort to get the home prepared prior to going on the market. You’ll be far happier with the results.

Tom and Gina Signatures

Photos: Main Photo licensed from iStockPhoto, Others Copyright Imaged2Sell

Originally posted at http://www.thebranchteam.com/wordpress/2014/03/23/we-can-simply-throw-a-sign-in-the-yard/

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Tom Branch and Gina Branch, The Branch Team with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs, service the greater North Dallas suburbs including Dallas, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco, Lewisville, and Carrollton.  While Gina concentrates on traditional listings and buyer/tenant representation, Tom specializes in assisting distressed homeowners to avoid foreclosure.  Tom and Gina have published two books (Achieving Rock Star Status and The Field Guide to Short Sales) and are available for speaking engagements in the greater Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex. Subscribe to The Branch Team Blog.

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Comments (48)

Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Smart advice here for any seller, no matter what the market. I do think some sellers feel that the appropriate preparation may not be needed when the market favor sellers, as ours does as well. Nothing could be further from the truth. Buyers these days are pretty savvy and are not likely to overpay or overlook tons of deferred maintenance among other issues.


Mar 24, 2014 10:32 AM
Eric Kodner
Madeline Island Realty - La Pointe, WI
CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 -

The "put up a sign and pray" strategy sounds tempting, but it very seldom succeeds, even in a hot market.

Mar 24, 2014 12:13 PM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Prepping a home for sale is challenging for most sellers because putting a sale sign in their yard doesn't cost them anything but prepping their property to sell at full value does, doesn't it?

Mar 24, 2014 05:57 PM
Karen Mathers - REALTOR®
Keller Williams Vero Beach - Vero Beach, FL
When it Matters, Choose Mathers! 772-532-3221

Having a buyer walk into a home and feel like it is welcoming is big!  The everyday clutter we see and overlook can scream too little space to a potential buyer.  It is always best to let a professional handle your sale, goodness you wouldn't let your 10 year old rebuild your transmission after he build his LEGO race car!

Mar 25, 2014 02:14 AM
Marla Yost
The Yost Team- Keller Williams Realty - Arlington, TX
The Yost Team

Remove all traces of you from the home!

Make your home as neutral as possible. Anything that interfers with a prospectivebuyers ability to see themselves living in your must be eliminated.

Mar 25, 2014 05:03 AM
Nora Sims
Northern Shadows Realty, Inc. - Sedona, AZ
helping folks like you since 1978!

Very well stated, Tom.


Mar 25, 2014 05:29 AM
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

If only it was that simple. Foolish words said by foolish people. 

Mar 25, 2014 06:44 AM
Chandler Real Estate Liz Harris, MBA
Liz Harris Realty - Chandler, AZ

Preparation and a solid plan is 75% of the battle!

Mar 25, 2014 07:10 AM
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

If you are looking for top dollar than exposure is your answer and a Realtor is your only answer. The realtor will also make sure the house is ready to show and more importantly help secure a mortgage.

Mar 25, 2014 08:00 AM
Ric Mills
Keller Williams Southern Az - Tucson, AZ
Integrity, Honesty, and Vast Real Estate Knowledge

Well stated but it still takes marketing to get it out to all the available buyers.  A sign will just pull in a few that happen to drive by.  How is a seller to know what the "real" best price is, are they experts-NOT.  What about all the legal documents and handling of inspections and escrow.  Why asign your biggest asset to an amateur?-You?  I personally made that mistake and learned a hard lesson.

Mar 25, 2014 09:01 AM
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Gina and Tom-Preparing the home for sale is the critical first step in getting the best possible price.

Mar 25, 2014 11:52 PM
Lesley Wilson-VanGoethem
Innovative Realty Solutions Group - Winter Springs, FL
Residential Real Estate Broker Associate

You are so right..Even in a Sellers market" a home that shows poorly does not get top $$ !

Mar 26, 2014 02:16 AM
IRMA Beltran
Century 21 M & M and Associates-Turlock homes Real Estate - Turlock, CA
Your Real Estate Agent 4 Life Always there 4 You!

So right, If property doesn't show good people will not discover the beauty in it.

Mar 26, 2014 03:34 AM
Pat Champion
John Roberts Realty - Eustis, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Great post a must for home seller's to read making sure they have the most qualified Realtor working for them to get their home SOLD is a must. Thanks for sharing have a great weekend.

Mar 26, 2014 06:59 AM
Jeff Jensen
The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states - Greenwich, CT

So many sellers just don't how much they need a good Realtor!

Mar 26, 2014 07:39 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

When a seller gets a quick offer, they do tend to think all the agent did was 'put it on MLS'.  They often don't realize all the prep work we do before the sign goes in the yard...and then during inspections and closing to be sure all goes smoothly

Mar 27, 2014 11:00 AM
Chad Felter
Virginia Beach, VA
Providing service through out Virginia.

Attention to details is the flavor that defines the sauce.

Mar 27, 2014 02:52 PM
Dawn Wiggan
Buyer's Eye Design...Transforming OLD Kentucky homes to SOLD Kentucky homes! - Elizabethtown, KY
Buyer's Eye Design

Excellent post!!!  Best part is, it is coming from a Realtor, which lends a great deal of credibility to the value of staging.


When a property sits on the market with little interest, the knee-jerk reaction is, "drop the price!"


No longer acceptable is the excuse of, "the market is bad!"  Buyers, even in bad times, still want the American Homeowner dream and now that conditions have improved, buyers are coming out in droves and sellers know it!  With limited inventory, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, making this a sellers' market.


But, what sellers (and some RE agents) need to understand is buyers, although they're "fighting" each other for properties, will only offer in the best properties and will enter a bidding war for the best of the best!


Great staging and photography will accomplish that so much easier than dropping the price!

Mar 30, 2014 11:46 PM
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 602.710.8161 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

The photo comparison tells a story.

Mar 31, 2014 12:39 AM
Alan Kirkpatrick
Austin Texas Homes - Round Rock, TX
Alan in Austin

Tom Branch 

Really great post, thanks for taking the time to share it. Hope you have a wonderful weekend .

Jun 27, 2015 01:21 PM